Several American bloggers have been invited by the Dutch Tourism Agency to visit Amsterdam in the end of February.

One of the bloggers is AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth.

Three days ago I got offered a trip to Amsterdam from the Dutch Tourism Agency. The Dutch were very excited to organize a first-ever trip of bloggers (they invite journalists all the time, but have never invited bloggers). But as it was their trip, I didn’t want to scoop them on it by telling you guys on Tuesday. Well, today they told the public about it, so today I’m telling you about it.

Basically, the trip is really an in-kind blog ad buy – they get a month-long ad on the blog (the ones in the right column), and they pay for the ad with a trip instead of cash (the trip is actually valued at much less than the one month cost of the ad on this site). But still, I’d be far less likely to spend the money on a trip had they paid in cash, so I kind of like being nudged into going.

You really should read the comments in that entry; it gaves you an interesting picture of how others think of the Dutch and Amsterdam: blowing, bikes, tulips and Muslims

Other bloggers are going to, but are also very critical about the organisation, such as Progressive Gold:

I’m angry that the Dutch Tourist Board, rather than try and promote the Netherlands by supporting the blogs of people who actually live and work here ( blimey, give me free entrance to the galleries& museums and I’ll blog ad infinitum) they’d rather shell out big bucks for US bloggers to come out and give their week-long impressions. And the invited bloggers aren’t even obliged to do that for their 5 star trip.
Many of us, sitting here every day actually in the bloody country, are blogging about Holland Dutch politics, Dutch food, Dutch culture and life in Holland, in English, right under their damned noses.
But does the Dutch bloody Tourist Board actually want to hear what we have to say about this country and its inhabitants? It wouldn’t fit in with the ‘tulips, coffeeshops, and Rembrandt’ agenda so i guess that answers that.
It makes me want to spit, especially when the American blogs get to show this nifty little logo:

Aaargh. Bloggers In Amsterdam? No, except in the purely technical sense and then for only 7 days.

Well I will be in Germany then, but I wish them all the best and I hope the Baltimore Factor isn’t to big.